Few towns in Britain have the history, pageantry and architectural beauty of Royal Windsor.
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This fascinating royal enclave is just 21 miles from London, and is one of the most visited towns in the UK. The town is dominated by the enormous Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park - 4,800 acres of sweeping parkland, woods and lakes that offer some of the finest walks and views in England. The town centre can sometimes feel a bit like a royal theme park; but if you’re willing to join the crowds, Windsor Castle and the delightful medieval streets outside the castle walls are well worth exploring. If you need a bit of space, take a stroll along the River Thames or a walk to nearby Eton, where you’ll discover the UK’s most famous and exclusive school.
Food and drink
The streets of Windsor are packed with grand cafes, stylish bars and trendy restaurants, many of which have price tags to match! But this is still a town where people live and work, and it’s also just three miles from Slough, one of the UK’s most multicultural towns. If you head away from the tourist traps around the Castle, you’ll find lots of great restaurants serving authentic Moroccan, Indian, Lebanese and Italian cuisine as well as some great cafes and delis where you can pick up quality ingredients for a fancy picnic in the park.
Windsor is boutique shopping paradise – the main street through the town is lined with delightful shops selling high end fashion, interiors and foods, with souvenir shops around the Castle selling royal keepsakes galore (some lovely, some standard tourist tat). Windsor Royal Shopping is a charming covered arcade on the site of a Victorian train station, packed with premium brands and designer labels. If art, antiques, jewellery and ceramics are more your thing, the mile-long main street between the River Thames and Eton College will keep you browsing happily for hours.
Windsor’s economy is rooted firmly in the tourist trade and the castle, but nearby Slough is a huge business hub with a large number of corporate headquarters for consumer goods, tech and FMCG companies. You’ll find the European HQs of BlackBerry, McAfee, Computer Associates, PictureTel and Compusys in the town, as well as O2, Nintendo, Mars, Black and Decker, Reckitt Benckiser and Amazon.co.uk. Dulux paints are also manufactured in Slough, as well as Sara Lee foods.
Windsor is just a stone’s throw from the M4 and Heathrow airport, and just six minutes by train from Slough. It’s not the easiest town for parking, so taking the train or a bus is recommended, or you can use the excellent Park & Ride service that also covers Maidenhead and the nearby Legoland theme park. Windsor’s cobbled streets are best explored on foot, and no visit would be complete without a stroll or cycle around the Great Park and riverside. Cyclists should also take a ride along the beautiful Jubilee Riverway cycle route, which connects with National Cycle Network Route 4.
Things to watch out for
It’s worth remembering that Windsor Castle is a working royal residence first, and a tourist destination second. If there is a state visit or other major royal engagement taking place, it may not be open so check in advance. The magnificent St George’s Chapel is not open for tourists on Sundays.